VST Connect Pro - cannot download HD files

It appears that you cannot download the HD (uncompressed) audio once you’ve closed the VST Connect session and re-connect to the same remote performer at a later time.

The tracks and files etc are all shown in the left hand column of the “manager” tab, with a message under each part saying “offline”, even though at the bottom of the VST Connect window there is a message saying "Connected to and we are talking to each other with video working etc and so are definitely “connected”.

In this case there are no files listed in the right hand column, where there is normally a list of files. Clicking “Get HD Files” just returns an error message “empty file” and so on. So there appears to be no way of getting the HD files via this interface once the initial recording session has been closed.

What are you supposed to do if there’s a system glitch, Cubase crash or power failure etc? Or in my case, I had another recording session immediately afterwards, and so I simply didn’t have time to download the HD files at that moment, which would have taken at least an hour.

In the end I had to get the performer to zip up the audio WAV files on their computer (from the VSTConnectPerformer folder) and send them to me, which I then manually inserted into the project, one-by-one. There were 144 takes / files in this session, so this took me 2 hours! This wasn’t a large session (by any means) so this work-around simply isn’t acceptable as a longer term solution.

The information about how the remote (uncompressed) files relate the local (compressed) ones (and they are all different lengths to each other, and not consistently so) and where the remote files should be placed into the Cubase project doesn’t appear to be permanently stored anywhere by the VST Connect plugin (e.g. perhaps within the cpr file or otherwise elsewhere on the local system.)

This appears to be a serious issue / missing feature which makes VST Connect very much less useful than what it might otherwise be.

I can think of many possible solutions as to how Steinberg might implement a solution / workaround to this problem without many changes, and possibly without even having to change anything in the existing plugins. I think it would make an enormous difference to the usability (and therefore sales) of this product in a professional environment, where the recordings are for broadcast or commercial release, so you really need to have the uncompressed audio. So there has to be a solution to getting this back into your project in a quick and easy way.

For example, this could be achieved via a very simple “VocAlign” type process.

So you get the required performer (uncompressed) WAV files (from the VSTConnectPerformer folder), just using the creation date as a guide for which files you need, upload / download and import them into your Cubase project via a new “VST Connect HD Import” function. You tell this function which tracks in your project contain the compressed vocal audio parts (tick boxes would do) and this function then goes about importing and matching the imported HD audio to the existing mp3 compressed versions. A section of the audio is always going to be virtually identical so a very simple matching algorithm should work. It places the uncompressed audio on top of the compressed parts, and truncates the starts and ends so that everything lines up.

Simple and no changes to the existing code required. It’s a fairly major problem (perhaps even a showstopper) that could be easily solved so come on Steinberg - I’m sure that loads of people would want this.

Of course the other simpler way (although it does require changes to the existing plugins) is to record (somewhere) which remote files match to which local files and where they should be placed in the Cubase project. Presumably this information is already being captured by the VST Connect plugin, so all it needs to do is store this somewhere on the local PC (either in the cpr file or elsewhere) whenever the project file gets saved.

None of this sounds particularly difficult to me, or am I missing something here?

Actually, someone (e.g. Steinberg) could probably write a simple little external utility program which would solve this problem. It could match the compressed and uncompressed files based on the creation dates, truncate the start and end points of the uncompressed audio (which is longer) so that it exactly matches with the compressed version, rename the uncompressed file so that’s it’s the same name (as the one in the local project), and convert the audio from stereo to mono if needed. Then you just swap the audio files over and it’s job done. Surely something has to be done to cater for the needs of the professional users of this product.

Hi - there is a dedicated forum page for this app/tool:-
http://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewforum.php?f=221

The developer who built it participates and responds there (‘musicullum’).

Good luck…!
Bob

PS:- Being nit-picky, an MP3 file versus an uncompressed version of the same audio… These are in effect, completely different files aren’t they, without a hope of ever matching up accurately in any way shape or form…?

I’m glad someone finally make a post about this BIG issue.

This happened one time for me, when I was doing a very important session, and after that
I just decided not to use VST connect pro anymore…

Correct that they aren’t exactly “the same”, but they would be close enough for a very simple algorithm to match them (e.g. just based on level and pitch analysis), but I think there are probably better solutions to this problem.

In fact VST Connect does exactly that, it assigns information about recorded files and how they relate to the Cubase project in question. You should even find an xml file on the performers’ machine along with the audio files.
What this means is that our intention is and has always been to be able to pick up on a disconnected project at any time, because obviously it can happen anytime. If it doesn’t workas intented, we’d like to learn a scenario where it fails so we can fix it.
In other words, the tool to recover HD files as you suggested is already built in.
If you can, you could send us the Cubase project file and the xml file on the performers’ computer (no audio files needed), write a PM here if that’s possible, then we may find out what went wrong. Thanks for your patience.

Hi there. Thanks so much for the response.

I can’t find any instructions in the VST Connect Pro manual as to how to recover the files using the XML file once the session has been disconnected. In fact, this scenario doesn’t appear to be mentioned anywhere at all. But if there’s already a solution then that’s great. So it looks like there may be a problem with the documentation? Let me know …

Hi Musicullum. Can you please clarify whether the XML file is supposed to be picked up automatically by the VST Connect plugin when the session is reconnected, or whether there is some kind of manual process by which the uncompressed files can be recovered and automatically loaded into the local project?

If it’s supposed to be automatically handled by the plugin (which it really should be for fully professional solution), then this doesn’t appear to be working, and it appears I’m not the only user that has had this problem. What assumptions does the plugin make when loading the XML e.g. does the IP address of the performer’s computer need to be the same etc? In my case I reconnected to the performer many hours later when they were actually in a different city, and therefore the IP address would not have been the same.

If it’s a manual recovery process then I can find nothing in the documentation about this.

The other issue is that the Steinberg technical support people don’t appear to know much about this, and were unable to advise me on how to recover the files, other than suggesting that I manually load them one-by-one, which is the path I had already gone down anyway, figuring that I wasn’t going to get an answer back quickly enough and I urgently needed to provide the audio to my client.

Can someone at Steinberg please clear this issue up as soon as possible? Thanks in advance.

Hi Musicullum. I’ve just run a test VST Connect Pro (HD) session with another Cubase user, with me running the VST Connect Performer application. When he clicked “Get HD Files” he got the error message back “receive file empty!” which is exactly the same message I got last week. However, on this occasion we did not disconnect and reconnect the session - this was a normal continuous session with some recording followed by “Get HD Files” immediately afterwards. I checked the VSTConnectPerformer folder and there is XML file in there. I can send it to you if you wish.

I’m waiting for Steinberg to respond to this problem …

No, this is not mentioned in the manual because it is not meant to be managed by the user (by no means should you edit it). The xml file is required for the software to know how to relate HD files to the Cubase/Nuendo project on the other side.
You are looking for a solution to a problem that should not have occured in the first place. We developers may be able to fix it (and find the cause) if you send us those files, but you can not fix it yourself.

the forum didn’t notify me of this one…sorry to reply a bit late.

The Performer application will be notified when the connection is established. Then it will look to find the xml file related to the Cubase project on the other side.

The IP address doesn’t matter. The only assumption is the Cubase/Nuendo project. Each project has its unique identification and there is a matching xml file on the Performer side. These files are not to be manually edited by the user, they are there for the Performer application software to relate HD files to the engineers’ project. So yes, you should be able to reconnect later and pick up on the project at any time.

Yes, I told you, we can help only if you send us those files (the Cubase/Nuendo project from the engineer and the xml file on the Performers’ computer). You can not fix this yourself. But if we get those files, we can also find out what went wrong, so it would help you and us as well. Just PM me.
The files are labeled "performerProjectxxx.xml, where xxx is some number (actually, the project ID). If there are several such files, just send them all (they’re small).

Hi Musicullum.

I’ve just had this sent to me from an internal source within Steinberg, who says he got this information directly from the developers :

"confirmed, HQ files cannot be downloaded after the session ends."

I would be happy to help with sending you XML files etc, but based on the above feedback from within Steinberg, I suspect if you try this yourself you’ll find that it simply doesn’t work. Downloading the HQ files doesn’t even seem to work reliably (i.e. it’s hit and miss) even when the session hasn’t been disconnected / reconnected, as I’ve personally experienced myself and also my friend a couple of days ago.

I’ve heard that VST Connect is being re-designed for the next release of Cubase. Will these issues be addressed and if so then when?

Best regards …

I suggest that a good solution to the problem would be some kind of new “IMPORT VST CONNECT HD FILES” function within Cubase. That way the performer can zip and upload the WAVs (along with the XML file), and in the meantime the engineer can be getting on with other work, or even the shutdown the machine and collect the files later. Cubase wouldn’t be tied up for (potentially) hours with the upload / download process.

It would seem quite simple to write such a function, as most of the code seems to already exist within the VST Connect plugin, and you could also keep the automatic “download HD files” button in there for users that just want something simple and aren’t inconvenienced by waiting to wait around for hours for the files …

Of course we have tested this many times successfully, it’s a complex scenario and we had to check many different situations anyway. So there must be some difference in how you did it and we’d still like to learn how this could happen so to avoid such failure with the next version (and also restore your project, because as long as all files are still there it should be possible).
We can’t tell you yet when the next version will be out, sorry.

That’s what I tried to point out previously, it’s all in there and it should just work, no need for additional tools. We just need to find out what went wrong and apprechiate your help with this.

Hi Musicullum. There seems to be a discrepancy between what you’re saying and what other people (i.e. developers) within Steinberg are saying i.e. that HD files cannot be downloaded after the session has been disconnected), which is also consistent with my and other people’s experiences of actually trying to use the product.

Have you actually tried this for yourself to see if it works? I would suggest that someone within Steinberg should do that as a first step. If it turns out that you are able to download the HD files (and I’ll be surprised if that’s the case), please let me know and I’d be happy to send over the cpr and XML files from this particular session. The performer I was working with is still away travelling but will be back soon, so it will be easier to get the required files.

Best

What are the assumptions that the plugin makes in order for the XML to be correctly loaded upon reconnection? You said that :

The only assumption is the Cubase/Nuendo project. Each project has its unique identification and there is a matching xml file on the Performer side.

So what happens if the Cubase project is saved as a new version i.e. Save As <different file name)? Would this new project file get a new and different ID to the first one? If that’s that case then this might be where things went wrong, as (of course) the first thing I would have done before attempting to get the files is create a new version (keeping the original one as a backup) in case anything went wrong. As previously mentioned, there appears to be NOTHING about this in the documentation, so at the very least this is a problem in itself …

The project version is fixed when the project is created, “save as” only applies a new name.
Did you switch to multitrack after you reconnected? Recordings created in multitrack mode can only be seen when you switch to multitrack after re-connecting…?